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APD tries to curb massive overtime use/abuse

Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier has moved to limit the excessive overtime hours that some APD officers have been claiming.

On May 29, Geier issued a special order capping the amount of regular time and over time that officers can work to 65 hours a week. For an officer that works a regular 40-hour shift, that means a maximum of 25 hours of overtime a week. There are some exceptions, but here's the key paragraph from Geier's order:

“The total number of hours an officer, sergeant or lieutenant can work in any one week is sixty-five (65) hours per week. This does not include court overtime. All chief's overtime, grant overtime and any other work overtime will go toward the cap of sixty-five (65) hours per week. Any exception to this sixty-five hour per week maximum must be pre-approved by their Bureau Deputy Chief. If unscheduled overtime takes an employee over the weekly cap they must notify their chain of command by the end of the work shift in which the cap is reached. A Commander can approve an employee working additional hours to meet significant operational needs but not for Chief's or grant overtime. The Chief of Police or his designee can waive the weekly cap to meet department operational needs.”

That last sentence is a huge loophole as it can let Geier or any other police chief suspend the order for weeks or months at a time.

Cynical minds have suggested that Geier's special order is an attempt to head off an investigation that State Auditor Brian Colón's office is conducting into APD's overtime problems. We reported on that investigation a few weeks ago. The story is posted below.

If Geier is serious about stemming APD's overtime flood it will be bad news for the department's overtime king, the human robot, officer Simon Drobik. In 2018 Drobik claimed extraordinary amounts of overtime, sometimes billing the city for more than 24 hours of work in a single day.

Last month we reported that Drobik, whose base pay is $31.50 an hour, was on his way to make $247,000 this year, For the first five months of this year, Drobik has made $89,775. according to city payroll records.

One thing that Geier's order doesn't address is outside work by APD officers and how much work outside of the department they can do. Drobik, for instance, has boasted that he has worked as a consultant on a Netflix movie. We have no idea how much time Drobik worked on the movie or if that work overlapped with his APD duties.

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